Friday, May 31, 2013

What would your inner child 'high-five' you for today?

Today I decided, procrastination was not an option.  I also have a leadership coach who is holding me accountable when I have meetings with him...and he occasionally gives me homework (for the first time since I don't know when that was not homework initiated by me!)   

I have no idea why this makes me nervous- I can hold my own in boardrooms all round the world....yet in my own boardroom one on one with him, I feel oddly uncomfortable some sessions!  He says "We live in the feeling of our thinking".  My job is to now recognise how I am feeling and thinking and take a moment to think about this.

Like anything, the first step is taking action to change.  I have decided that everyday my 'inner child' is going to 'high-five' me for an achievement no matter how small, I will verbalise it to my team each day.  The purpose behind this is to become the leader I want to be. 

You are probably wondering what type of leader that is.  Probably mainly one who is less frustrated with operation issues and who is able to focus on being an 'effortless leader'. 

Recognising your 'inner child' is also important and giving yourself that 'inner high five' is also very satisfying- a mental confidence boost to yourself is sometimes all you need to change your perspective on what is in front of you.  I get a great amount of motivation since I've been 'inner high-fiving' my self over the past 6 months.  Its important  to recognise that although you may not achieve everything you set out to in a day, you must recognise those that you have achieved and celebrate them by this 'inner high-five'.

So here is my list of things I am going to 'high-five' myself for today, not all work related, but personal 'mind clutter' needs to be cleared if we are going to be able to focus on the real tasks ahead, and I have also been told as leaders, we should be strategically 'rising above it' and working on at least 1 strategic thing each day:-

1/ Let me team know about positive news across company for the day
2/ Complete the contractual sign-ups with 2 new partners/ suppliers today (my strategic item for the day)
3/ Touch base with staff on where they are at for completing weekly targets
4/ Submit expenses for the month (month end is approaching!).
5/ Finalise Revenue forecasting for billing and P&L pre-run on Tuesday morning
6/ Put duvet and inner in for dry cleaning (unfortunately the cat has peed on it!)
7/ Print off passport renewal forms so I can do something about leaving the country on a holiday at some point in the near future (an odd feeling of being trapped in side my only country waves over me with passport renewal times which is odd, but real!)
8/ the easy part- the leaving work at 6pm is hard!)
9/ Clear me unread email so I don't have over the 300 unread in my inbox like I currently do.
10/ Find a new supplier for cavity slider doors, my builder brother tells me I'm being ripped off with my current lot of quotes so its back to the drawing board for this one.

I hope your inner child can high-five you today.  Don't forget- share the high-fives with your team too- the mood of the leader can have a direct impact on the mood of the team.

Take a minute to think of your 'inner high-five' item for the day and take a second to visualise you high-fiving yourself......I know you'd feel better and maybe even feel a small smile appear on your face.  Have a great long weekend!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Educational institutes to community- do you copy?

"Hello, this is your local Tertiary calling....Community....are you there?"

So is it that no-one is listening, or it simply the fact that Tertiaries do not know how to effectively manage the 'Third Area of Work'?  Steve Maharey, Vice Chancellor of Massey University recently referred to Stakeholder Engagement as this 'Third Area' in his recent interview last weekend on
Q & A.

So the checklist for Tertiaries is Simple:

1/ Students
2/ Research
3/ Engagement

'The Third Area of Work', simply put is engagement of community.  This would be in the form of short courses, consultancy, research, perhaps joint commercialisation projects, or more simply, school liaison for future students.  Perhaps its industry engagement- having a supply of takers for the products of their labour- graduated students?

I am passionate about this area. I have spoken to no fewer than 4 institutes in the recent weeks, all with the same story.  Our tertiaries don't see themselves as Sales engines.
Well, I do have to tell the institutes, you are wrong!  Of course you sell things!  You sell courses, research and consultancy.  Ah, you say...but I work in a capped environment.....I say, but you still have to meet your numbers and deliver on your promises.  Isn't the International student market where we are competing on the world stage....its most certainly about sell, sell, sell.  So why are our domestic and international markets so different- .......government calling- are you there??  A small issue around funding and capping I imagine.  Just a guess?

It still surprises me why our business diplomas and degrees lack sales papers.  Even last week I spoke to someone studying a current Diploma in Business- I asked them if any sales papers were included and they said no!  No wonder we don't have a Sales focus- one of our most popular business programmes in NZ and it totally lacks one of the key elements needed in almost all businesses!

If you want to sell to community, you must gain trust and respect.  You must engage with them on a regular basis, not just when you want donations or help at graduation ceremonies.  You need to form real relationships based on delivery, quality and reputation.

This is why I'm  staggered that institutes are still managing without Stakeholder Engagement systems to track and manage these key relationships.  After-all as Steve Maharey puts it "Its the 3rd Area of Work".  So I leave you to ponder on this thought.  Institutes have Student Management Systems to track Students,  Research Management Systems to track research, Finance Management Systems to track Finance.....but no systems to track Stakeholder Engagement.  If this is the Third Area of work, where is the third system to track these important engagements?

I truly believe this is a critical area to track and manage and a risk area if you don't.   Business Mechanix have a wealth of knowledge in the area of Tertiary Stakeholder Engagement as well as Commercial Stakeholder and contact management, they can put a relationship management solution in today to help get this sorted as well as processes to manage and training for your staff.  If you aren't doing something about it....who's to blame?  How important is your third area of work?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

RIP Parekura Horomia - why diet and exercise is vital for NZ's future

I have been listening all week to lovely messages about Parekura Horomia, a popular Labour MP who died this week.  As an avid watcher of Parliament TV, as well as a qualified personal trainer with Merit in Sports Nutrition from AUT, it pains me to see talented people like Parekura Horomia die at the age of 62.  To know he was so behind whanau and our culture and to see in his younger years he was a boxer and played a lot of Rugby, I often ask myself what when wrong.

We need people like Parekura Horomia to keep our society balanced and to keep our culture and history alive.  We also need role models for our young people.  It pains me every time I saw Parekura Horomia, Gerry Brownlee and Paula Bennett in the media or on Parliament TV.  Again, I have a great deal of respect for both of these people as leaders in their field, although I do not agree with the way that they are presenting to society in the form of their weight and often the significant health issues that come with being so over-weight. 

Like many over-weight people, Mr Horomia had struggled with his weight and previously revealed he was a chronic asthmatic and had an enlarged heart.

I have personally trained executives with enlarged hearts and asthma as well as seriously overweight people.  All of these people could exercise and eat healthy and the impact of doing so was a more positive outlook on life.  There are benefits all round...there for the taking if we could just get people to apply themselves.....

People in the spotlight are role-models for our society and it is vital for the health of our country that they are construed as fit and healthy people.  Our country depends on having strong, fit and healthy people for our future economies.  We need talented people to live long enough to pass knowledge and wisdom onto generations to follow and we need them healthy during their working life to be the best they can be....and know this themselves.

I often hear things from my corporate personal training clients clients as to why they cannot get their nutrition or diets under control like- "I don't have time- I'm so busy" or "I travel a lot so can't control what I eat" or the other lines are "Something came up and I had to go out".  Excuses mean avoidance.  People are simply lying to themselves.  Getting to the root cause of why is often the biggest issue.  Many people can have problems at home, suffer from depression, low self confidence or simply find it easy to not bother as they think no one cares, or their 'busy' lifestyle can justify their reason for not eating well or exercising.  I too am busy.  I simply make the time to do these things.  Again- we are personally accountable for our actions, no one else.

Food addiction and lack of exercise can be caused by many factors and being under stress produces cortisol hormone which can be a blocker on the path to successful weight loss.  Uncovering the root cause of why people are overweight can unleash some dark secrets, however this is the first part of the journey to sort things out.  If you are over-weight- the first questions I would ask of yourself is "Are you OK?" 

If you answer no, you need to fix these issues first- seek help from professionals, medical profession or friends and family.  I personally have an issue currently which is preventing me going back to swimming or cycling as every-time I get out there, I can't breathe properly.  I love to do both but feel like I am going to run out of breath.  I have since visited specialists to find out that I have a chronic sinus condition that was not treated correctly, despite me going to 3 doctors.  After a CAT scan and some serious medication, I am finally feeling like I can breathe again and yes, I am starting to feel OK.  This means I can give the swimming and cycling another go, which is very exciting for me as it was a blocker for these sports.

The bottom line, quite simply put is that there is no excuse for poor diet and lack of exercise.  We all have to make choices everyday- which lane to take on the motorway, what tie or dress to wear in the morning, what to eat for breakfast and lunch and if we will take the lift or the stairs.

So what do I suggest as a personal trainer as well as a busy CEO?  Here are my top tips:-

* Understand health and nutrition is a lifestyle choice, not just a diet or exercise programme for 12 weeks.
* Use Incidental Exercise where-ever possible- always take the stairs and not the lift
* Don't try and get the car park nearest your destination- use one further away or better yet, walk to your meetings.
* Choose a form of exercise you can enjoy with your partner such as walking, kayaking hiking, cycling and book in advance into your calendars time to do these activities together
* Understand that food contributes to 80% of weight issues.  You do have a choice as to what and how much you eat.  Every time I put something in my mouth I think about when I am eating it, what I am doing to burn the energy and what nutritional value it has.
* Watch liquid calories.  You don't have to drink juice, beer, wine or anything with sugar in it at all.  Opt for vege juices if you need to or water or last choice, diet drinks but restrict these to only 1 or 2 per day along with healthy food intake.
* Start a weight loss challenge with your friends and family- we just did this through  and members of my family lost up to 8 kg each over a 3 month period- the site emails weekly reports on who is winning and has a facebook style post where you can update statuses regularly.

NZ has one of the highest obesity rates amongst Maori and Pacifica in the world, we need to be encouraging our generation to be healthy.  To do this, we need to educate our communities and have fantastic role-models we can all look up to.  This is my plea.  If you are over-weight or need help, either help yourself or seek out someone who can help you.  There is always a way and it will be for your own healthy future, and for the future of your family, friends and of course NZ as a healthy nation.

Parekura Horomia- your death has not been without purpose.  You have stirred emotions in me of sadness, anger, frustration and a genuine want to help get the message out that we must as a nation work towards healthier lifestyles - including nutrition, health, mental wellness and exercise.  May you Rest in Peace.  NZ please take the message on.  The time to get fit and healthy is now.